The Gates Ajar is a mosaiculture garden established in Como Park since 1894. Parks Superintendent Frederick Nussbaumer brought the idea of Gates Ajar from European parks where such displays were familiar religious horticultural features.
In 1894, Henry Robbins developed the framework for what would become one of the must-see attractions at Como Park, The Gates Ajar. The Gates Ajar derives its name from a verse called “Golden Legend’ by the great American poet, Longfellow. The Gates Ajar has been planted every year since 1894. The wrought iron gates were obtained from the Crosby Estate. Originally located near Cozy Lake then moved to the east side of the Conservatory, near the Frog Pond, Gates Ajar was relocated to its current site east of Lexington Parkway in 1963. Gates Ajar was completely renovated in 2007. The flagstone steps and rock wall foundation were restored in 2014.
The horticulturists at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory produce approximately 10,000 annual plants for the Gates Ajar each year. It is estimated that Gates Ajar requires 100 hours to complete the intricate planting. Traditionally the planting pattern on either side contained a large Wheel of Life Everlasting, and each post contained the outstretched arms “Y” of Faith, the anchor of Hope and the heart of Charity. The planting pattern has varied through the years.